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#20227 - 12/24/03 04:03 PM Negotiating tips for buying your new boat ****  
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Pasco, WA
This is a long post, but there’s a lot of tricks in here to save $$$$$. If you're in the market for a new boat I hope this helps you out. \:D


It’s boat buying season, so here are some tips that might help you save a few bucks on the purchase of your new “loved one”……that you will later spend on fuel, upgrades, electronics, etc. These suggestions come from my 10+ years as a manager in one of Washington’s largest RV sales companies. I’ve seen just about every buying technique tried by inexperienced people and guess what...they usually end up paying too much.

First, before you ever get serious about buying a boat, it’s important that you determine your needs. And that doesn’t necessarily mean what “lights your fire” at this particular time. For example if you have young kids, be sure to plan for when they’re teenagers with long legs and bigger bodies and are bringing their friends along to go boating. Look at several sizes of boats (not necessarily brands at this point) and try to visualize the amount of room you will need for bodies, skis, tubes, towels, cooler, life jackets, etc.

I say this because when I first started looking for my last boat I was thinking of an 18’ bowrider with an 8’ beam. When I sat in one, I realized that it wouldn’t fit our needs in just a couple of years…not enough interior room or storage room. A boat is a long term purchase and it’s very expensive to have to trade it off in just a few years because it doesn’t suit your needs.

Once you have decided on a size range and type of boat (bowrider, cuddy, center console, etc.) that suits your needs, start looking online at manufacturer’s sites to see which brands you like. Most of us don’t know enough about how these things are built to be able to adequately judge construction so rely on the reputation of the brand and ask others who own them.

Once you’ve settled on a couple of brands, start looking for dealers, and they don’t necessarily have to be in your area. With the internet it’s easy to find the names of boat dealers a couple of states away who carry the brands you are looking for. Even if you don’t buy from them, they can be used as a bargaining tool when you’re negotiating with your local dealer.

If you have a trade-in, get a realistic evaluation of what it is worth. Check NADA.com and some of the other used boat sites (Yachtworld.com for example) to see what boats of your type are listed for. Keep in mind that if you see your old boat listed for around $10,000 on several internet sites, your dealer can’t give you this much for your boat. He has to make a profit when he sells it.

People with a trade-in get too hung up on what their trade is worth and what the dealer is offering them for it. Believe me when I say that the dealer is good at juggling numbers. If he offers you $8,000 for your trade and you insist on $10,000 he’ll just up the price of the new boat to compensate and you'll never see it. He's much more experienced at negotiating than you are. Also keep in mind that the dealer that takes your old boat in trade has certain costs involved with getting it ready for sale. It’s easy for a dealer to have $1,000 in actual “hard costs” to prep and repair your boat before it hits his showroom. And don’t forget that the dealer has to make a profit on your trade when he sells it. If you think you can do better than what he’s offering, keep your boat and sell it yourself. There's an idea on this below.

If you have a trade-in, the only number you should be concerned with in the negotiating process is the difference between what the new boat costs and what your trade is worth. It doesn’t matter if you deal in “retail dollars” or “wholesale dollars” the lower you can make that difference number the better off you will be. This is the only number you should be negotiating on. Don’t let a dealer try to shift your attention to interest rates or payment amounts because he’s often trying to distract you from what you’re paying.

Dealers often use a “Four Square” technique to keep you distracted and off balance. When they try this, simply tell them that the only figure you’re interested in is the difference cost. As the difference amount comes down your payment will come down.

If you have an outstanding loan on your trade you MUST know if the balance is greater than the Actual Cash Value (ACV) to the dealer. If your boat is worth $8,000 to him and you owe $11,000, you have to understand that this $3,000 deficit is not going to go away. The deficit is called “Negative Equity” and unless you pay that down in cash, it is going to be included in the loan you get when you buy the new boat…and that raises your monthly payment.

If you think you can sell your trade yourself and do better than what the dealer is offering you, strike a deal with him that allows you 30 days to either (a) sell your boat and bring him the value he was offering in cash (plus any tax difference) or; (b) bring him your boat and give it to him at his value that he offered at the time of negotiations. This lets you strike a deal today for the new boat at agreed-upon pricing and allows you the chance to sell your boat and keep any additional profit you might make on it. A dealer should be willing to do this if he wants to sell you his new boat.

If you don’t have a trade or decide you can do better selling your trade yourself you should be negotiating with the dealer on the amount of profit he needs to make above and beyond his total invoice cost.

Here it can get tricky. It’s my understanding that boat dealers are much like RV dealers. They get an invoice price from the factory at one price point. Then, as their order volume increases they get additional discounts (rebates) off that invoice price. This means that if a dealer is a large dealer and he shows you the manufacturer’s invoice you may still not be seeing what he actually paid for that boat. There’s no way that I know of to find the absolute end price that was paid.

I would start by asking the dealer what he thinks is a reasonable profit to make on the boat you’re buying. Let him know if you’ll be financing the boat through his dealership so he knows that he can afford to give up some profit on the sale because he’ll make some profit on the financing. I think it’s reasonable for a dealer to make a decent profit on his boats. He doesn’t deal in the volume that car dealers do so he has to make more on each boat. What you don’t want to have happen is to have him joke with his staff (after you’ve hitched up and driven away) about you being a “Laydown”. That means you paid waaaaaaaaaaay too much. They love Laydowns.

If you have shopped on the internet and found other dealers who carry the type of boat you want, play them against each other. Dealers hate to lose a sale to a competing brand or to a dealer who sells the same brand he does. Don’t be afraid to walk out of one dealership and go to another. If he doesn’t call you back you’ll know that you’ve hit the lowest price he’ll do to make the sale. Just don't be unreasonable in your expectations.

When you are negotiating, it’s probably a good idea to include in your purchase all the things you’ll need to have fun with your boat...dock lines, pfd’s, fenders, skis, tubes, wakeboards, etc. If you can get the dealer to “throw them in” he probably will discount those items below what you would pay if you were to just walk in and buy them. If the dealer has a long-term maintenance program for winterizing, get that too if you think you’ll be keeping the boat for more than just a few years.

There, sorry it's so long. I'd be interested in knowing if this helps anyone with their boat buying process.
GFC


"Beachcomber" 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge


Anchor's down......Bottoms Up!
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#20228 - 12/24/03 04:05 PM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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Boating Magazine last month had 10 tricks to pull on your boat dealer. I'll see if I can find it..
Great post!!!


1995 Formula 303 SR-1, 454 MAGs
2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
#20229 - 12/24/03 04:35 PM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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Great post.

But I am not so sure many businessman will readily show you his true costs, including off loading, get ready, freight in, demo costs, salesman's commission, interest paid on the unit, his pack for un-recoverable warranty, boat show expense divided by his yearly unit sales, rent, insurance, cost of sending his tech to service school, and the cost of the "thrown in" stuff.

#20230 - 12/24/03 05:19 PM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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Justification Offline
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Fruit Heights, Utah
While I agree with negotiating techniques to get the best deal, I don't know if I like to call them "tricks to play on your dealer." I know it's semantics, but I would much rather make sure we can get to an equitable and fair deal for both of us to maintain a good long term relationship.
Using appropriate techniques will prevent you from being a laydown (which if I'm honest with myself, I was when I bought my first new car), but will give the dealer enough of a profit to stay in business and treat you right when any service is needed.
I like to think that I used the appropriate techiques to cut such a deal on "4 da Buoys." The dealer moved a holdover off his lot, I bought a boat I could not have otherwise afforded, and I think we have a good relationship. They know who I am when I call, seem genuinely happy that I am a member of the Mastercraft family, and want to make sure I'm happy with my baby. The owner and salesman said it was cool seeing someone so excited about getting their new boat, since many of their clients have more money than they know what to do with and just replace every year or so, so it's not such a big deal to them.


Beer makes you feel the way
You should feel without beer.
#20231 - 12/24/03 05:23 PM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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Grand Poobah

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Pasco, WA
Seabuddy, I agree. You'll never see the rebates from the mfg's that are done in the background. You can ask him how much he needs to make above the invoice amount to cover the things you mentioned and I don't think it's unreasonable to ask him to see his factory invoice.


"Beachcomber" 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge


Anchor's down......Bottoms Up!
#20232 - 12/24/03 06:18 PM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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GoFirstClass,

Sure wish I had had you at my side during our boat buying experience. Our dealer was professional with the conduct of their business.
Did not bad mouth the other brands we were looking at, insisted on test drive of theirs at no cost or obligation to us. When we talked trade in they asked what we had. The saleslady said it wouldn't be worth our time to tow it to the dealership, it would be a boat they would sale to a local used dealer to get it off their lot. Said we would do much better taking the time to sale it ourselves.

During cost negotiations I felt they gave us a fair price based on all the other boats, both Four Winns and other brands, that we had priced.
I'm sure looking back on it in hindsight we may have been able to get a better price if we had been more agressive, but who knows?

Long term relationsip with my dealer has been one of the best business relationships I have ever had. As a new boat buyer I get a good discount on all retail items they sale. Have purchased some major costs items there at prices that rival the internet price.

Well, gotta get, daughter wants me to review her culinary experiment. Wish me luck....

(naw, she's a good little cook.)


Former owner of a 2002 Four Winns 234 FunShip
'16 F250 4x4 Oil Burner
"Hey, if I'm a Vice Admiral, which vice do I get to claim?"
#20233 - 12/24/03 06:51 PM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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Geez Parrott, sounds like you have one heck of a dealer!!!


1995 Formula 303 SR-1, 454 MAGs
2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
#20234 - 12/24/03 06:56 PM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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Bones Offline
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Thanks GFC for starting an excellent thread! I'll take any help I can, for when the time comes.
 Quote:
These suggestions come from my 10+ years as a manager in one of Washimgton’s largest RV Sales companies.
Are you and Matt related? :p ;\) \:D

#20235 - 12/25/03 02:34 AM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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camp180 Offline
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When I started talking to my dealer, he gave me a price. This was the second boat I have bought from them. We started talking, I rent a slip, have my maintainence and winterizing done by them and when I need a dock line, fuse, bulb, etc., they know I will buy from them. He lowered the boat price by $1000. I started dealing with the owner, not a salesman. Was it the best price? I am not sure, but I think it was fair. They take care of me. I feel that I got a good deal. The overall picture means more to me than the price. Sure they have to be close to what I think is equitable.
Their mechanics will fix whatever I need quickly and they do it like it is their boat, no foot/hand prints... I will not have the boat forever and will buy another. Will it be from them? Only if they earn it.
Great topic!!!


2005 Ebbtide 2100 Sport Cuddy
5.0 Volvo SX
#20236 - 12/25/03 05:36 AM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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Lets get to the good part then. How much below list do most folks pay?

#20237 - 12/25/03 11:49 PM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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Good question 1900, but I believe there are a BUNCH of key variables: time of year (probably the biggest one), brand, economic outlook, customer traffic, specific dealer situation, availability of factory support (such as show incentive pricing), etc, etc. As a 'rule of thumb' you can figure a few points off of list is a good price for May, June, July. October, November, December, maybe as much as 20 points (or a bit more). Other times of year the variables would overwhelm the generalizations.

In the last analysis, are you getting the boat you want, equipped as you need it, from a dealer you trust to have a productive, ongoing relationship with, at a price you think is reasonable? THAT's a good deal... \:\)


“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of moneyed corporations which dare to challenge our government in a trial of strength, defy the laws of our country.” Thomas Jefferson "Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will seek to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed." Abraham Lincoln
#20238 - 12/29/03 11:18 AM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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I share with FLB on his thoughts on pricing.

#20239 - 12/29/03 07:55 PM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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 Quote:
Originally posted by 1900sx:
Lets get to the good part then. How much below list do most folks pay?
1900, I don't think there is a hard and fast rule about how much below MSRP you should buy. The biggest reason is that some mfg's don't set an MSRP. When you go to a dealer's and see him advertise a "Manufacturer's Price" or "Retail Price", it could easily be a price he pulled out of the air.

It could also easily be highly inflated so he could then show a "Boat Show Discount" or "January Snow Sale" and have a huge discount. Buyers are gullible and are attraced to what they think are huge discounts. I'm not saying all dealers do that, but I would guess that it's a fairly common practice in the boating industry as it is in other industries.

That's why I suggest you negotiate UP from the dealer's invoice rather than DOWN from "Retail."

A lot depends on your skill as a negotiator. If you tell a dealer you'll only buy "if he knocks off 25%", his question is going to be "where did you get that figure from?".....and you won't have an answer better than you pulled it out of your hat (or further south, if you get my drift).

A huge factor in how happy you will be with your boat depends on how satisfied you were with the entire buying process. Getting the absolute last dollar off isn't nearly as important as...
--Did the dealer listen to what your needs were rather than just sell you the "Show Special"?
--Were you treated fairly and with respect?
--Was the boat cleaned and ready at the delivery time it was promised?
--Were all the negotiated accessories included as promised?
--Do you believe the dealer will be happy to see you come in for service?
--Will the dealer treat you well in the future if you have a problem with the boat?
I've bought things were I knew I left money on the table but was very happy with the entire process.....and that's worth more than those extra few dollars I might have spent.

Boats are toys. They're to have fun with. Your buying process should be the start of a long and happy relationship with your boat. My suggestion is don't sour the process by worrying about getting every last dollar off the price. When you get to a point where you feel happy, sign on the dotted line, don't worry about leaving some bucks on the table, and go have fun with your family. \:D \:D
GFC


"Beachcomber" 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge


Anchor's down......Bottoms Up!
#20240 - 12/30/03 12:47 AM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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Sherman, Texas
Great Topic!!!

I have aways wondered why it has to be this way. Why dealers feel like they have to trick or unbalance a buyer. I'm fotunate enough to have bought our VIP from a local dealer and generally dealt with the owner. I never once felt like I was being mis-directed or sold something that I didn't want. Since I've been shopping around for a new deckboat, I've pretty much come to the conclusion that I'll be buying from him. He carries Glastron and Chaparral as his 2 main lines (non-fishing) so I feel that I have plenty of choices. I live within the "Nautical Mile" on I-35, just north of Lewisville. We have 9 dealers along that stretch, just about every popular line represented, but my dealer is worth the 45 minute drive, to Gainesville, for that peace of mind and a cup of coffee with a friend.

Cheers \:D
Kev


Boat-free at the moment but looking for
"Our Friend-Ship"

Texoma
Table Rock
#20241 - 12/30/03 02:53 AM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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GoFirstClass Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by Lana's Lana'i:
Great Topic!!! I have aways wondered why it has to be this way. Why dealers feel like they have to trick or unbalance a buyer.
It doesn't have to be this way (tricking/unbalancing a buyer), but the reality is that dealers are in the business to be profitable. After all the rhyme and rhetoric have gone away, the bottom line is if they don't make a profit they don't stay in business. \:\( Buyers have sort of created this unhealthy scenario because we always want too much for our trade, then want the absolute bottom line on the new boat. It just doesn't work that way.

There isn't a dealer out there who isn't a better negotiator than the average buyer. They aren't afraid (and shouldn't be) to sell a boat at full retail. If they did, the buyer would be getting "hosed" because he paid waaaaaaay too much. The flip side is there are buyers who buy below invoice. The dealer has to average the sales out and make a certain profit per deal...or he doesn't stay in business.

Therein lies the secret to being a good negotiator...allow the dealer to make a profit (don't try to weasel out every last dollar) but let him know you don't want to get screwed on the deal. The integrity of your dealer and your relationship with that dealer will have a LOT to do with the kind of deal you get.

Our perception of the biggest car/truck dealers in the country is that they deal in huge volume so they don't have to make as much money on each vehicle so if "I" buy there I'll save money. Not usually.


"Beachcomber" 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge


Anchor's down......Bottoms Up!
#20242 - 12/30/03 07:34 AM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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Lets Go Offline
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Seattle, WA
I have found boat buying is so much different than car buying. With car buying it seems like you can dicker pretty hard and get what you want. With boats, it is much tougher. Maybe because there is less competition.

Of course you want to make the best deal, and in consideration the dealer must make a profit. You want them to stay in business to support you after you buy a boat.

I found last year when we bought our new boat after we got down to the nitty gritty that I was able to have the dealer throw in some extra's and options to close the deal. Alot of times these may not cost the dealer much but have a sticker value.

One thing that surprised me is how the dealer acts and treats their customers. The one dealer I was very serious about their boat and made several offers. To be honest it was more than we had budgeted. Unfortunately instead of simply saying this is as low as I can go and be done, they decided to try and close the sale with a smaller engine that was really undersized for the boat. At first it was exciting to see the price get closer to where I wanted, but after talking with others they told me I would not be happy with the power. The other dealer gave me his best deal and told me no pressure. Even after the test drive he told me to take my time on the decision and make sure it was the right boat. That low pressure and honesty approach really set it's mark and won my respect. Needless to say they got a boat sale and have a very happy customer that is praising the dealership.

A final note, I was a little leary buying at boat shows but think we got a good price, plus volvo had a boat show promo going that threw in a 5 yr warranty on the engine as a bonus.

Corrie


2005 Cobalt 220
Volvo 375hp Duoprop
#20243 - 12/30/03 05:36 PM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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Indyboater Offline
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Indianapolis
I think you should pay the same price for a boat or car as anything other large item - the lowest price possible before the dealer walks away from the deal. Every businessperson has a price that they will walk away from the deal. That price can change from day to day, or even hour to hour sometimes.

Now finding this price is not always easy - At Walmart it is, they post it on a price tag. But it's more difficult at a boat dealer. It is not a matter of a certain percentage over or under invoice price - because each dealer must recover some overhead costs also, and they may or may not have clarity on those costs.

My method of getting the lowest price is simple, and works every time. But it takes tremendous discipline and confidence. First, you must do some homework (independent of the dealer) and know what similar items are actually selling for. Second, you must make all of the arrangements to buy and make your mind up before you begin to negotiate. Third, and hardest, you must take emotion totally out of the transaction. Sure, you want that shiny new boat - but you have to be willing to walk away if the price is not right. If you aren't willing to, you are negotiating with emotion, not your head.

Walk into the dealer and tell them you are interested in the boat, but you don't have much time - quote them a low, but reasonable price at which you will sign a sales agreement right now. If they say yes, sign it, and go home happy - and don't have any second thoughts.

If they say no, ask them for the lowest price they will go for today - let them understand this is their only opportunity to sell you today, and you intend to shop elsewhere. If their offer is good, sign it, if not, leave immediately.

Will the dealer get upset with you over this approach. NO! They will treat you with great respect. You haven't wasted their time. You haven't been sneaky or sly. They may be disappointed that they couldn't get more out of you. They may even say to themselves that they can't afford to sell this low to everyone - but they will not be upset with you.

Buying big ticket items is one of the biggest opportunities for wealth creation or loss that most people perform on a day to day basis. I'm always amazed that people will drive across town to save a few pennies on gas, but will readily pay a couple hundred dollars extra a month on a bad deal.

#20244 - 12/31/03 12:39 AM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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va-rinker Offline
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virginia
Great topic, one strategy mentioned I used and worked well with me was using the internet. First, I used it for research to try to determine a reasonable price. Second, I found one 5 hrs away for a really good price and worked out a deal over the phone. I showed the price to my local dealer and told him I was going up there to buy it. In my mind, I was actually willing to pay $500 more locally for my convenience and to compensate the dealer for the higher transportion cost he would have to pay. I was shocked when he beat that price by $900. I think I must of asked him 5 times if that was the right price. I didn't want them coming back to me later and saying they made a mistake.

In the end, a reasonable price is one that you feel good about.

David

#20245 - 12/31/03 09:55 PM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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cny boater Offline
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Central New York
There is a lot of good info in this thread.

To add to it, there is a book "Boating Magazine's Insider's Guide to buying a Powerboat" by J.P. Lamy.

It contains "everything you need to know to buy a new or used small powerboat (32' and under) at a terrific savings".

I have this book and it is an excellent read. I think the author even recommends bringing the book into negotiatons, placing it next to your checkbook on the salesman's desk when you're ready to do "business" \:D .

Amazon affiliate page link


Bob
2002 Cobalt 226 350 MPI B1

[Linked Image]
#20246 - 02/10/04 08:01 PM Re: Negotiating tips for buying your new boat  
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RodS Offline
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RodS  Offline
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Allen, TX
I could use some advice on taking delivery of my boat. In case you ask who the heck is this guy see “Newbie – 798”. I am due to take delivery of an 04’ 250 Horizon FW in a few days. I have been working with the dealer since the Dallas summer boat show. We worked out a fair price, they threw in some add-ons, and some of the kickback money that was expected from the manufacture designated for the “winter” boat show. All this was done prior to the winter show in an effort to “get a better deal” during an otherwise off peak-season time.

Well, the winter boat show has come and gone. I am still somewhat happy with my price although I no longer believe I “got a better deal”. The one thing that bums me out is several dealers were offering extended engine warranties as package deals. Is it fair for me to ask for an extended warranty from my dealer or is it too late?

Thanks, RodS


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